GROWING IN MATURITY LIKE JESUS
By Lay Pastor Jusuf Wibisono
Lemah Putro, Sunday, August 26, 2018
Time flies! Without realizing it, we are stepping into the last quarter of the year 2018. This means that the Lord is coming sooner. Are we prepared for His upcoming return?
Whatever we may go through – getting over a high mountaintop or going down a steep valley, let’s never doubt His love. Having heard His Word, we are only required to believe and have faith (Romans 10: 17).
Like a baby growing to full maturity, our spiritual lives are growing day by day, from childhood via teenage years all the way to full maturity according to the fullness of Christ. That way, we will not remain babies easy to be tossed around by the winds of deceitful teaching. Instead, we will steadfastly hold on to the truth in love and grow in all aspects into Christ who is the Head (Ephesians 4: 13-16).
Being a human, Jesus also experienced a normal childhood under the care of His earthly parents (Mary and Joseph). When He was twelve yrears old, His parents took Him with them to celebrate Passover in Jerusalem (Luke 2: 39-42). Please note that parents play a vital role in supplying their children with nutritious, spiritual food so that they will grow strong, healthy and wise like Jesus who could ask and answer questions as He was talking with the religious leaders in the Temple (Luke 2: 52).
Parents should train their children in worshipping the Lord in their early childhood as babies can receive the Word of God through their senses. The life of a baby is similar to a small plant growing from the seed of God’s Word. It undergoes the transformation process: bearing leaves, buds and ending up with ripe fruit ready to pluck and enjoy. A baby who has become a grown-up is ripe for marriage.
In the time of Moses, every male in Isreal, from 20 years old and upward, was ready to serve in the army (Numbers 1: 2-3). Likewise, we must be spiritually mature. Then we will be ready for the training to fight the false messiahs and prophets who perform miracles to deceive His chosen people (Matthew 24: 24).
The devil keeps working wonders in public, particularly toward the return of the Lord, so as to mislead those on earth to worship the statue (Revelation 13: 13-14).
Let’s not take Thomas’ attitude, that is, seeing is believing. Therefore, Jesus said to him, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (John 20: 25, 27, 29). Instead, let’s do what the servants did at the wedding in Cana. Upon Jesus’ instruction, they filled the water pots up to the brim all at once. Then a miracle followed – the water was turned into wine (John 2: 7-10).
A miracle will take place if we are ready to be filled up with the Word of God to the brim. This also applies to children whose parents take them to the Sunday School to be filled up with God’s Word. In this way, they will grow strong and wise, pleasing God and people alike.
It takes obedience to make the concept of transformation tick. Naaman, the commander of King Aram’s army, for example, had to take down his prestige and learn to be humble before his recovery from leprosy came to pass (2 Kings 5).
The water of God’s Word poured out into the heart overflows out of the mouth, testifying to those present about how sweet the joy of the Holy Spirit is. Don’t step away from the concept of the heavenly Kingdom, namely, hearing and keeping the Word of God to be practiced on a daily basis! Also, keep in mind that the devil is always trying to deceive and undermine our faith, especially when we are going through a difficult period and God does not immediately answer our prayers.
If we are constantly filled with God’s Word and willing to stay humble, life transformation will take place without doubt. Don’t expect your spouse or child to change if you yourself don’t want to change first! God is able to resolve our problems since nothing is impossible with Him (Luke 1: 37) only if we submit ourselves to Him.
When dealing with the Samaritan woman who changed partners time and again, for instance, Jesus neither blamed nor judged her. Instead, He set her life straight. He offered her the living water that would quench her thirst once and for all. The woman instantly responded to His offer, asking Him for the water that could satisfy her life. Overwhelmed with joy, she went home and shared the news with her fellow Samaritans of that city. Following her testimony, many of them came to Jesus and believed in Him (John 4: 10-15, 39-42).
Each of us must experience a personal life transformation. Through His sacrifice, our lives grow into Jesus who is the Head. That way, we will take part in the wedding feast of the Lamb. This is a great secret and the devil is always trying to deceive us (His fiancée) in order to distract our focus on Him (2 Corinthians 11: 2-4).
Who falls victim to the devil’s deception with his trickery? Those who are spiritually immature or babies, living on milk in place of on the solid food of the Word ( Hebrews 5: 13-14).
What are the characteristics of spiritual babies? They trigger conflicts, nurture jealousy, set up groupings and put men on a pedestal. In reality, many Christians are hooked after spectacular miracles. They do not like the teaching of the Word that can mature them. Hasn’t God given five offices (apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers) and equipped the holy saints for the work of the service and the building up of the body of Christ (Ephesians 4: 11-12)?
Don’t ever make the wrong choice because you are not used to hearing the voice of the Shepherd (John 10: 14). Since chidhood a “sheep” has been accustomed to hearing the Shepherd’s voice and following His instructions. If we like hearing and living up to the Word of God, we will be victorious (Revelation 2-3).
If we are continously filled with His Word, virtue will be added to our faith; and to our virtue, knowledge; and to our knowledge, self-control; and to our self-control, patient endurance; and to our patient endurance, godliness; and to our godliness, brotherly kindness; and to our brotherly
kindness, love (2 Peter 1: 5-7). And God’s Spirit who lives in us is able to give life to our mortal bodies (Romans 8: 11). How can the Holy Spirit live in us? Through the Word that sanctifies our lives.
We were saved by Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. Folowing our salvation, we were made righteous to undergo the process of sanctification, leading to maturity and bearing ripe fruit (James 1: 2-5). Our sanctification goes through diverse “tests” to get “promoted” on the way to perfection, lacking nothing. We know Jesus and have full access to His kingdom if we have faith growing into love (2 Peter 1: 8-11).
How do we learn humility?
The disciple is not above his teacher, nor the servant above his master (Matthew 10: 24-25). In other words, let’s not act as if we knew more than the Word of God and the Holy Spirit. For example, many act as if they knew when the Lord will come. And even without hesitation, they mention the date, month and year of His return while Jesus Himself said that no one knew concerning His coming, not even the angels of heaven and the Son but the Father only (Matthew 24: 36). Most importantly, we must stay on guard and live in the light of God’s Word (so that we will not stumble) in the midst of the dark world until the day dawns (2 Peter 1: 18-19).
When do we obtain happiness?
When we persevere in reading, hearing and practicing the Word of God (Revelation 1: 3).
When we die in the Lord from this moment on and all our good deeds will follow us (Revelation 14: 13).
When we stay alert and do not lose our clothes of good deeds so that we will not walk around naked (Revelation 16: 15).
When we join the wedding feast of the Lamb as the pinnacle of all happiness (Revelation 22: 14).
Our spiritual lives grow along with hearing the Word of God and multiple kinds of trials. As a result, we will be empowered to ward off all kinds of false teaching. And we will experience the apex of happiness at the point when we take part in the wedding feast of the Lamb and live together with Him forever and ever in the new Jerusalem. Amen.